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Manhattan

    When I played “Autumn In New York” here a couple of weeks ago, Jim Hunt noticed my little minor key tag of the tune “Manhattan” at the end of it and suggested I should play it in its own right.  “Manhattan” was Rodgers and Hart’s first hit and appeared in “The Garrick Gaieties” of 1925 (and if anyone is interested, it was introduced, so it says at the top of the sheet music, by June Cochrane and Sterling Holloway).

      It’s an infectious tune and has some interesting things in it.  The note on the lyric “Island too” in the first line, for example, is a g against an F major chord.  We take it for granted now that it’s so familiar, but it’s not an obvious choice.  The verse is of no particular musical interest but the tune's lyrics are cute throughout.  There are four verses of lyrics in the refrain.  The verse proper and the first and third verses of the refrain are below.  Click on the title below this paragraph to hear my version. (I do the verse and two choruses, the first in E flat and the second chorus in F (the original key) where I took some Tatumesque liberties, and for symmetry’s sake, quoted “Autumn in New York” at the end.)

 Manhattan

 Verse:

 Summer journeys to Niagra

And to other places

Aggravate all our cares;

We’ll save our fares;

I’ve a cozy little flat in

What is known as old Manhattan

We’ll settle down

Right here in town.

Refrain:

 We’ll have Manhattan,

The Bronx and Staten Island too;

It’s lovely going through

The zoo.

It’s very fancy

On old Delancey Street, you know;

The subway charms us so

When balmy breezes blow

To and fro;

And tell me what street

Compares with Mott Street in July,

Sweet pushcarts gently gliding by:

The great big city’s a wondrous toy

Just made for a girl and boy

We’ll turn Manhattan

Into an isle of joy.

We’ll go to Yonkers

Where true love conquers in the wilds;

And starve together, dear, in Childs’.

We’ll go to Coney

And eat balogny on a roll;

In Central Park we’ll stroll

Where our first kiss we stole

Soul to soul;

Our future babies

We’ll take to Abie’s Irish Rose

I hope they’ll live to see it close;

The city’s clamor can never spoil,

The dreams of a boy and goil.

We’ll turn Manhattan

Into an isle of joy.


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